May 22 2013 Latest news:
Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Warrant Officer 2nd class Keith Smith was honoured by the Greater London Reserve Forces and Cadets Association at a ceremony in central London last week.
WO Smith, a gas heating engineer who lives in Newmarket, is a Squadron Sergeant Major with the 217 Field Squadron in Ilford.
He said he joined the reserve forces “because I wanted to part of an organisation that had little or no bearing on my civilian world”.
He added: “I feel extremely honoured to be nominated for this award as it is proof that 30 years’ service to the army has been recognised.”
WO Smith said highlights of his service had included meeting royalty and Prime Ministers and supporting the London 2012 Olympics.
The Lord Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir David Brewer, who acts as the Queen’s representative, said: “This is my chance to thank everyone on behalf of Her Majesty for their service.
“The volunteers and reservists are doing a marvellous job and are a great asset to our country.”
And an 18-year-old air cadet - Akshay Mandalia, of Lord Avenue, Clayhall - will now accompany the Lord Lieutenant on his official duties and events with the Royal Family.
Sir David chooses three cadets, representing the Army Cadets, the Sea Cadets and the Air Training Corps, and Akshay’s appointment was announced at the ceremony.
He said: “I think it’s a real privilege. I’m representing all of the air cadets in London.”
Akshay serves with the 241 Wanstead and Woodford Squadron Air Training Corp, which is based in Finchingfield Avenue, Woodford Green, and takes part in flying, gliding, shooting and other activities.
The Ilford County High School pupil, who is studying for his A-Levels, hopes to become a RAF officer after going to university.